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Saturday, 27 April 2013 18:00

BRAC’s response to the Savar tragedy

28 April 2013, Dhaka. In order to help the victims of Savar tragedy, BRAC has initiated a host of emergency support activities through multiple medical and psychosocial counseling teams. BRAC aims to continue their efforts until the end of the rescue operation, and then initiate post-trauma rehabilitation activities.

Following the incident, BRAC’s health nutrition and population programme (HNPP) sent three medical teams to Savar, Dhaka Orthopedic Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). The Savar medical team, located immediately outside the accident site, has so far provided treatment to a total of 117 patients within the first three days. The Savar team is also providing necessary support at Enam Medical College. In addition, the team has prepared a complete list of admitted patients who will require rehabilitation later.

The BRAC team at DMCH has continued their support on the third day, which included updating the patients' profile with complete address and contact details, and re-assessing the admitted patients’ psychological conditions. This team is working jointly with the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) and Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), to update the common patients’ profiles, listing the patients who have lost their limbs and will require rehabilitation support later. 

Aside from the medical teams, BRAC has dispatched four psychological trauma counseling teams comprising of four to six counselors from HNPP, community empowerment programme, disaster, environment and climate change programme (DECC), gender, justice and diversity programmeand BRAC University. The teams have visited DMCH, NITOR, Savar CMH and Enam Medical Hospital and assessed the counseling needs of a total of 115 admitted patients. The team will continue with the assessment process and start psychological trauma counseling support from 28April.

A special team organized by DECC and consisting of trained staff in counseling is currently providing psycho-social support to the rescued victims and the family members of those who have yet to be found. Another team has identified the number of children from BRAC schools who have lost one or both parents to the tragedy, and are receiving similar psycho-social support.

BRAC is accepting public donations for its relief efforts through BRAC UK and BRAC USA. Please click the check box on our donations page to earmark your donation for relief and rehabilitation.
 
BRAC USA is also accepting phone donations. To automatically contribute $10 to these efforts, please text “BRAC” to 20222 from any US mobile phone.


Contact details:

Disaster management:
Dr Babar Kabir
Sr Director, Disaster, Environment & Climate Change
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Ph: 8801714091383

Human rights and PIL filed on labor law:
Dr Faustina Perreira
Director, Human Rights & Legal Aid Services.
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Ph: 8801715007470

Media (Bangladesh):
Mahbubul Alam Kabir
Sr. Media Manager, Communications
BRAC
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Ph: 8801711404561

International Media:
Tasfiyah Jalil
Manager, Communications
BRAC
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Ph: 8801730351398
 

23 April 2013, Dhaka. BRAC held a launching ceremony for opening 330 community girls school in south Sudan on April 12, 2013. BRAC Education Programme in South Sudan has taken up this as a challenge considering the barriers in education in South Sudan which includes poverty, inability to pay school fees, lack of female teachers, long distance of schools etc. There are over 1.4 million children out of school and in the next five years BRAC will target 100,000 of them. A total of 9900 children from underprivileged and marginalized families will be enrolled in the 330 community schools. 330 trained female teachers will also be employed in these schools.

The launching ceremony was held at Home and Away Hotel in Juba, where HE Minister, Ministry of General Education and Instruction, HE under Secretary, Ministry of General Education and Instruction, Director General Alternative Education System and Deputy National AES Directorate were present. 

The ceremony received good media coverage from the national dailies. A one hour live discussion with DG of Alternative Education and Deputy Minister, Ministry of General Education and Instruction was also aired in Radio Miriya.
 

 

21 April 2013, Dhaka. BRAC and Averting Maternal Death and Disability programme of Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, co-hosted a two-day symposium on  “URBAN SPACE: INTEGRATED ACTION ON HEALTH, RIGHTS AND POVERTY REDUCTION” in April 19-20, 2013 at the BRAC Centre Auditorium in Dhaka.

With an objective to improve health programmes particularly in the urban slums, the symposium brought together a group of actors working on rights, development and service delivery issues for slum dwellers in the countries of four continents, namely Asia, Africa and the Americas.

At the panel discussion session, BRAC chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed pointed out that the plights the urban slum dwellers face are mainly caused by the ‘lack of pro-poor policies’.

‘The urban poor children have no future while the adults have no present. Often the urban poor end up paying more than the average city dweller to afford the daily services,’ said Sir Abed. Poor healthcare facilities and absence of adequate number of schools worsen their situation, he observed.

Sir Abed praised the facilities created by Manoshi, a programme BRAC has undertaken to ensure healthcare for pregnant mothers and newborn babies living in slums in seven cities of the country.

‘Manoshi is highly successful in its contribution to reducing maternal and neo-natal death rate, reaching more than seven million people across the country,’ he said, urging the government to formulate and implement more pro-poor policies

Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, founder and executive chairman of Power And Participation Research Centre, emphasized the strategy to classify the urban slums to tackle the multifaceted challenges the people living there face every day.

‘Though living in urban areas can provide one with economic opportunities, the social opportunities in terms of health and education become very narrow,’ Dr. Zillur said, adding, ‘The urban poor face the problem of statistical invisibility and legal ambiguity. The mobility of the slum population further increases the challenges of delivering services in an effective manner.’

Additional secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Aiub Rahman Khan and additional secretary of the LGRD ministry Swapan Kumar Sarker spoke, among others. Representatives from Columbia University, USA, WHO, UNDP, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Dustho Shastyo Kendro (DSK) were also present.

Currently, around 12 million (1.2 crore) people, which means  30 per cent of the country’s urban population, live in slums or are in floating condition in urban areas.
 

04 April 2013, Dhaka. A seminar on the outcomes of a project undertaken to assist the country’s tenant farmers was held on Thursday (April 4, 2013) at the BRAC Centre Auditorium in the capital.

The ‘Tenant Farmer Development Project’ being implemented since December 2009 is funded by the Bangladesh Bank, gave credit and other supports to the tenant farmers.

The seminar shared the findings of an impact assessment study of the pilot phase of the project. 

The programme was attended by the governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman, as the Guest of Honour and presided over by the vice-chair person of BRAC, Dr. AMR Chowdhury. 

At the seminar the executive director of BRAC, Dr. Mahabub Hossian, presented a paper titled ‘Access of tenant farmers to credit and extension services’, while senior research fellow of the organisation Narayan C. Das, read another paper styled ‘Impact of credit on productivity of tenant farmers’. 

Dr. Mahabub Hossain in his presentation pointed out that the previous agriculture credit schemes did not see any obvious success to the tenant farmers and that the tenant farmer development program was taken up to address the issue.

Under the program tenant farmers were given credits against minimal interest rate and extension services without any extra charge, he said, adding, ‘fourteen thousand village organisations are currently under the scheme, reaching around three lakh tenant farmers. This success has prompted the disbursement to be raised from 500 crore to 630 crores.’

Such support can free the tenant and marginalized farmers from the moneylenders, Dr. Mahabub said and added, ‘Around 63 per cent of the landless households are now getting loans from NGOs, with 54.8 per cent of the tenant farmers received loans in 2010 compared with 4.5 per cent in 1988.’

Echoing Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Atiur Rahman said, ‘By focusing on the tenant farmers and helping the bottom of the pyramid we will be able to achieve financial inclusion.’

In praise of BRAC’s initiative, he said, ‘When most banks were not ready to organize and handle the share croppers, BRAC came forward to provide loans of which 80 per cent is being used for farming activities.’

BRAC disbursed the credits and managed the funds Bangladesh Bank had allocated under the ‘Tenant Farmer Development Project’.

 

24 March 2013, Dhaka. Five media organisations were rewarded BRAC Media Award on Tuberculosis, honouring their special contribution to tuberculosis prevention and raising awareness on Sunday, March 24, 2013. The winners expressed their strong resolution to continue their work of spreading mass consciousness.

The award recipients were Prothom Alo in the Bengali daily category, The New Age in English daily category, Banglanews24.com in the online news portal category and ATN Bangla in the electronic media category. Bangladesh Television (BTV) received special honour for their contribution to the cause.

Executive Director of BRAC, Dr Mahabub Hossain, presided over the event and Senior Director, Asif Saleh, gave the welcome speech. Farid Hossain, Bureau Chief of AP Bangladesh and Dr Asif Mujtaba Mahmud, Associate Professor of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) also spoke during the event.   Thushara Fernando, Country Representative of WHO; Dr Md Ashek Hossain, Director of National Tuberculosis Control Programme and Muzaffar Hossain Paltu, Senior Vice President of NATAB were among the other honourable guests present in the event.

In his presiding speech Dr Mahabub Hossian said that, although Bangladesh stands second in tuberculosis control, the National Tuberculosis Control Programme needs to retain the success. He added that the mass media can play an integral part in this. He also suggested the utilisation of modern technology in tuberculosis control.    
Senior director Asif Saleh said that the role of news media is essential in implementing the programmes and in bringing effective changes to the society. Thus, BRAC honours the news media organisations that play a leading role in freeing the country of tuberculosis.

Abdul Quium, Associate Editor of Prothom Alo; Shohel Manjur, Managing Editor of New Age, Juwel Majhar, Consultant Editor of Banglanews, Nowajesh Ali Khan, and Advisor of ATN Bangla received the award. Dr Kawsar Afsana,  Director of Health, Nutrition and Population of BRAC received the award on behalf of BTV.

This event marks the third rendition of the ‘BRAC Media Award on Tuberculosis’ after the first one on 2008 and the second on 2012.

Earlier in the day, a rally was organised to observe the World Tuberculosis Day. The rally started from Shahbag, passed through TSC and Doyel Chattar and ended at the National Press Club. Officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as well as representatives of various government and nongovernment organisations attended the rally. The slogan of this year’s World Tuberculosis Day was “Stop TB in My Life Time."

 

17 March 2013, COTABATO CITY. True to its mission of empowering people to realise their potential, BRAC Philippines, through their local partner, Kapagawida Development Services Association, Inc. (KDSAI), provided a wheelchair to a Grade 1 learner in Buluan town who suffers from a congenital mobility impairment.

Seven-year old Alibay M. Katua from Barangay Upper Silling, Buluan, province of Maguindanao, was born with no legs. But the impairment has not hindered her determination to attend school every day.

Her parents, Akmad and Kapisa, are grateful that their daughter has been able to receive education through the BRAC Learning Centre free of cost.

“Providing our daughter with a wheelchair has made a huge difference in  her life. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude,” said an overjoyed  Kapisa Katua.


Alibay M. Katua, a mobility-impaired Grade 1 Learner in Brgy. Upper Silling, Buluan, Maguindanao enjoys her new wheelchair from BRAC Philippines.

Rehana Angeles, Alibay’s learning facilitator said, “This act of kindness has given a sense of hope, not only to Alibay’s family, but to all parents who have children with physical needs. BRAC is truly committed to creating an environment free from all forms of discrimination.”

The wheelchair presentation ceremony was attended by Department of Education-Maguindao Division 1 Coordinator for BRAC, Sammy M. Modales; BRAC Philippines Provincial Manager for Maguindanao, Md. Abdullah-Al-Mahtab Khan; Barangay Upper Silling Chairman, Jayson M. Lantong and KDSAI Executive Director Nomairie Mustapha.

The establishment of Upper Silling BRAC Learning Center is part of the Alternative Delivery Model Project under the Basic Education Assistance in Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) programme funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
 

26 March 2013, New York. Celebrate the Love of Learning Program with NetCom Learning as we partner with BRAC USA to bring education around the world.

NetCom Learning and BRAC USA are partnering in NetCom Learning's Love of Learning program to provide education for children in disadvantaged communities around the world. The Love of Learning, which is part of the nationwide Learning Movement, was created by Russell Sarder, the CEO of NetCom Learning, who is originally from Bangladesh. NetCom Learning has long had as its aim to promote the values of lifelong learning as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. To create this program NetCom Learning is partnering with BRAC USA, a nonprofit organization that works to help individuals create better futures for themselves and for the communities in which they live. NetCom Learning and BRAC USA expect to be able to raise funds to open more than thirty new preprimary schools for children in the next few months thanks to clients and partners in the Love of Learning program.

 

The Love of Learning is tied to class registrations at NetCom Learning. For every technical course registration that occurs with a prepaid price of $2,000 or more NetCom Learning contributes funding for a child's education for a year in a developing country. NetCom Learning is an innovative leader in IT, business and executive training to companies, individuals, and government agencies. The organization offers over 1,000 training courses from more than 20 vendors such as Microsoft, CompTIA, CISCO, PMI, Autodesk, and more.In this way, by registering for a training course, NetCom Learning students not only become certified in their fields, they will gain powerful knowledge they need for their job but more importantly they are contributing to the future of a child around the world.

   

"NetCom Learning would like to invite everyone to join with us in promoting and celebrating this Love of Learning initiative," said Russell Sarder, CEO of NetCom Learning. "Our purpose is to promote lifelong learning around the world, and every student that signs up for a class is helping us to make this possible. We want to get everyone educated and on the road to lifelong learning," said Sarder.

   

Love of Learning
The Love of Learning Program is a recent initiative of NetCom Learning working in tandem with BRAC USA. The program is funded by NetCom Learning donations based on the number of prepaid class registrations. The program was created by NetCom Learning's CEO Russell Sarder for whom the promotion of learning is a passion. The promotion of lifelong learning guides company actions on a daily basis. As Russell Sarder puts it,"Promoting the values of lifelong learning is not a marketing gimmick, it is part of our DNA, it is how we we operate the business on a daily basis." The success of the Love of Learning Program over such a short period of time is a testament to the the success of the company and the overwhelming desire to promote education. Russell chose to accomplish this goal with BRAC USA due to its commitment to helping individuals around the world through education and other programs. Susan Davis, CEO of BRAC USA recently participated in the nationwide Learning Movement through an interview for Sarder TV, a collection of videos with top industry and educational experts who discuss the importance of learning, and the methodology for personal and organizational success.

 

What is BRAC?
BRAC, a development organization founded in Bangladesh in 1972, is a global leader in creating opportunities at scale as a means to end poverty. With more than 100,000 employees, it is the world's largest nongovernmental organization, touching the lives of an estimated 126 million in 11 countries using a wide array of antipoverty tools such as microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights training and more. BRAC USA is a US affiliate created in 2007 to advance and support BRAC's global mission.For more information on NetCom Learning's Love of Learning program, visit: http://mkt.netcomlearning.com/LoveofLearning.html

   

About NetCom Learning
NetCom Learning is an innovative leader in IT, business and executive training to companies, individuals, and government agencies. Since its inception in 1998, NetCom Learning has trained over 80 percent of the Fortune 100, serviced over 45,500 business customers, and advanced the skills of more than 71,000 professionals through hands-on, expert-led training, with the organization maintaining an average instructor evaluation score of 8.6 out of 9. NetCom Learning was recognized by Microsoft Corporation as its Worldwide Training Partner of the Year and named thrice to Inc. Magazine's list of fastest growing private companies in America. The organization was also recently named to the 2012 Top 20 IT Training Company by TrainingIndustry.com and was named "Company of the Year" by the American Business Awards.
 The purpose of NetCom Learning is to promote the values of lifelong learning

         

Contact:        
       Marketing Manager
NetCom Learning
20 West 33rd Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 629-7265
Fax: (212) 947-5462
           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

24 March 2013, Dhaka. BRAC Liberia successfully launched a poultry programme, Poultry Hatchery and Feed Mill Project, in Neekreen, Buchanan, GrandBassa County on March 1, 2013. The groundbreaking project, the first hatchery and feed mill since the civil war, engages 40 staff and 200 community livestock and poultry promoters, and will directly benefit 300 farmers.

In his speech, BRAC Liberia's country representative, Mohammed Abdus Salam said that BRAC identified the absence of poultry feed in Liberia which is essential to develop the poultry sector in the country. Considering a growing demand for this, BRAC in collaboration with Chevron, setup the unique project. In addition to helping the farmers, the project will also create employment opportunities and strengthen the poultry sector. Mr. Salam thanked Chevron and the European Union for their contribution to the food security project and commended their partnership in further expansion of the poultry farm feed mill.

Madam Etweda Cooper, the Grand Bassa County Superintendent, remarked that the project was a great milestone for the county's citizens and will go a long way in bringing much needed development. She praised BRAC Liberia for its contribution in establishing the first hatchery and feed mill after the devastating war in Liberia and expressed her willingness to work closely with BRAC Liberia, Chevron Liberia Limited and European Union.  She also called on the residents of the district to help sustain the project and work hard to reap benefits from it.

Chevron's country manager, Karl Cottrell expressed his optimism that the project will expand outside of the county so that Liberians do not have to buy chicken and other poultry product from Europe and other West African countries. He envisions that the project will reach more than 3,000 beneficiaries in the near future, with significant improvements in the next five years. Mr. Cottrell underscored the need for continuous partnership between BRAC, Chevron and the Ministry of Agriculture in bringing sustainable growth in Liberia. 

Dr. Sizi Z. Subah, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, emphasised on  the ministry's commitment in attaining food security, and called on the Liberians to elevate themselves to the condition where chicken and poultry products are not only delicacies of the holidays. He further pledged his Ministry‘s unwavering support in assisting BRAC to successfully complete the poultry hatchery  and feed mill project in the Grand Bassa county.

James B. Logan, the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture, who initially worked with BRAC during the project's planning stage, urged the resident of the area to embrace and engage in the project so that the beneficiaries are able to maximise their return.

The citizens of the district echoed the optimism of the speakers, and expressed their gratefulness and commitment in making the project successful.
 

Brandeis University in USA has announced “The Bangladesh Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development Scholarship for the Masters of Arts in Sustainable international development for early-to-mid career development practitioner within BRAC. This scholarship honors the continuing work of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.

The scholarship will begin in late August 2013.

This competition is open to all BRAC staff worldwide.

The Scholarship valued at over US $48,000 includes:

  • Full tuition and fees for the year-in-residence at Brandeis, and all university fees for the second year field project.
  • One round trip airfare from Bangladesh
  • Several partial tuition scholarships may be awarded to runner-up candidates

Health insurance and living expenses are not included

See website for cost estimate: http://heller.brandeis.edu/admissions/financial-aid-info/cost.html

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MAY 1, 2013

Applicants may apply online identifying their interest in the BRAC scholarship. Full application detail can be found at http://heller.brandeis.edu/academic/sid/admissions/ma-requirements.html

For application questions contact:
Jamie McCarthy
Assistant Director
Heller Admissions
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For further information on the degree program, please contact:
Faria Zaman
Assitant Director for the International recruitment
Graduate Programs in Sustainable International Development and Health
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Download the flyer for more details

 

18 February 2013, Dhaka. A training workshop on Research Proposal Preparation and Scientific Report Writing was held at BCDM, Rajendrapur, Gazipur from February 9 to 13, 2013. The workshop was organized by Krishi Gobeshona Foundation in collaboration with BRAC. 30 scientists from different fields of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) institutes participated in the five-day long workshop that aimed to improve the scientific research skill for writing/preparing quality research project proposal and report writing.

The workshop was directed to fill the need of the researchers to prepare formal research proposals for securing funds from different sources and to write reports for publishing paper in scientific journals. The researchers in Bangladesh, though academically qualified, are often not well versed in the art of research project proposal and report writing which requires adequate relevant scientific knowledge and skill. The meticulously designed training workshop with focused activities and facilitation of specialist resource speakers served to improve the necessary skill of the researchers.

The distinguished resource persons of the workshop included Dr. Francisco Javier Zapata-Arias, Advisor, Agriculture and Food Security Programme, BRAC; Andrew Jenkins, Coordinator, Impact Assessment Unit, Research and Evaluation Division (RED), BRAC; Fakir Md. Yunus, Research Associate, Impact Assessment Unit, RED; S M Mustafizur Rahman, Faculty Member, BRAC Learning Division (BLD); A.K.M. Alamgir Chowdhury, Director, Socioconsult; Hasan Shareef Ahmed, Chief of Editing and Publication, RED; Jan Jenkins, education specialist and Nil Ratan Halder, Senior Program Manager, BRAC Education Programme (BEP). Among the participants were researchers from Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC), Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI), Cotton Development Board, Shrimp Research Station, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Bangladesh Forest Research Institute, Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute, Oilseed Research Center, Bangladesh Tea Research Institute, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), and Bangladesh Sericulture Research & Training Institute etc.

The workshop comprised of classroom lectures, discussions and group work on the most relevant topics. The discourse was substantiated with practical exercise on research proposal presentation and scientific report writing for crop, fishery, and livestock subsectors. Research proposal writing on non-commodity areas, particularly natural resource and input management was also encouraged. The climate change scenario, another important contemporary issue, was considered during the exercise. The workshop concluded with group presentation and discussion on the outcome of the exercise by group members.

The workshop served to reaffirm BRAC’s commitment to work in partnership with the government and to strengthen the quality of service provided for the wellbeing of the poor.
 

 

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